By Kyle Yehle
Special to the News-Press
DEARBORN, Mo. — It’s taken North Platte nine years to get a win against West Platte in baseball. This year, the Panthers nabbed not only one victory off their cross-county rival — but two, and a spot in the district semifinals.
Senior pitcher Trevor Lamar dazzled with five innings of no-earned run baseball and North Platte withstood two late rallies by the Blue Jays to win 6-4 in the first round of Class 2 District 16 play Thursday evening.
“We definitely got a personal monkey off my back,” North Platte coach Grant Tysdahl said. “West Platte is a great team. Since they’re our closest rivals, it’s better to get wins in all sports against them.”
North Platte opened the scoring in the third inning after initially struggling against Bluejays junior starter Wyatt Kleman. After striking out four in the first two frames, Kleman began to unravel. With sophomore Panther Truman Byergo on first and two outs, Kleman gave up a single, three doubles and a walk for a 4-0 North Platte lead. Fellow West Platte junior Nathan Plummer took over for Kleman and closed the inning on a flyout.
The Panthers tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth when junior Jesse Martin singled up the middle to plate sophomores Blake Gibson and Kaleb Pendlay.
On the mound, Lamar cruised through the Bluejays batters until the bottom of the fifth. With eight strikeouts under his belt, Lamar walked sophomore Phillip Pattison and senior Grant Eagen. Freshman Luke Heili reached base on an error, which scored Pattison. Lamar finished the inning and sophomore Caine Huffman replaced him in the sixth.
“My pitches were breaking well and my team had my back,” Lamar said. “We’ve been working hard on our defense in practice, and it’s noticeable.”
Lamar ended the day giving up a measly two hits and three walks.
“We came out and pitched brilliantly,” Tysdahl said. “He was hitting his spots all night. It’s tough — over 90 degrees — and he fought through it, even when his pitch count got up. I wanted him to get me through five, and he did.”
West Platte loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but only managed to get Kleman home on a sacrifice fly to narrow the score to 6-2.
Plummer kept the Panthers off the board in the top half of the seventh. With one last chance to extend the game or win it, West Platte mustered three baserunners with no outs and Kleman — representing the tying run — at bat. He hit into a fielder’s choice, which scored Eagen from third. After a flyout, Plummer singled through the outstretched hand of Gibson on the left side to score Heili and make it 6-4. With men on first and third, junior Noah Johnson grounded out to Gibson to end the game.
“I wanted to see how much fight we had,” West Platte coach Tanner Lawson said. “If you ask me how we lost the game, we didn’t make the routine plays and didn’t get timely hits.”
Lone Jack 4, North Platte 2
Caine Huffman came to the plate representing the potential go-ahead run in the seventh inning of the Class 2 District 16 semifnal vs. Lone Jack on Monday, May 14.
The Panthers, who had been held at bay so far in the game faced a 4-0 deficit entering the final frame.
North Platte was able to plate two runs and had two on with two outs when Huffman stepped to the plate but his liner up the middle was snared by the pitcher and the Panthers season came to a close.
North Platte managed just three hits in the contest, one each by Huffman, Andrew Hernandez and Kaleb Pendlay.
Jacob Oliver took the loss, allowing just one run in four innings of work before turning it over to Huffman in the fifth. Huffman pitched a scoreless fifth before allowing three insurance tallies in the sixth — all unearned.
Lathrop 14, North Platte 4
A seven-run first inning helped Lathrop take an early lead and a five-run seventh closed out the win against North Platte in a KCI Conference game on Monday, May 7.
In the first, the Mules had only two RBI that were hits — both singles — while taking advantage of two bases-loaded walks and a sac fly.
North Platte got its first run on an error in the bottom of the first, but gave a run back in the top of the second.
Caine Huffman had an RBI in the second Kaleb Pendlay — who drew three walks — had an RBI single in the third.
Trevor Lamar doubled in the fifth and scored on an error, which made it 9-4. He went 3-for-4 at the plate.
The lead expanded to 14-4 in the seventh for the Mules. The Panthers added two runs in the final inning. Jesse Martin had a sac fly and Joel Smyser hit an RBI single for the final run of the game.
Each team had seven hits, while committing a combined nine errors.
East Buchanan 18
West Platte 8, 6 innings
The Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back in a KCI Conference on Monday, May 7, at Benner Park in Weston, Mo.
The high-scoring contest saw at least run scored in each inning by one team, while the Bulldogs had at least one run in each of the six innings they batted.
Holding a 2-0 lead — on an error and a double by Will Malita — East Buchanan scored six runs in the third inning. The big blow was a three-run double by Colin Archdekin, while Blake Antle and Alec Williams had RBI singles.
West Platte got on the board in the bottom of the third on Wyatt Kleman’s RBI single.
A five-run fourth followed for the Bulldogs to make it 13-1.
Antle had two singles in the inning, the latter made it 13-1, while he scored the first run on a wild pitch.
West Platte got two runs in the bottom of the inning on a balk and wild pitch.
In the fifth inning, West Platte scored five runs. Trent Holmes walked to force in the first run, while Noah Johnson and Nathan Plummer singled — the latter plating two runs. The final run for the Bluejays came on Kleman’s bases-loaded walk.
Kleman had two hits and drew two walks for West Platte. He started and took the loss, giving up two runs — both unearned — in two innings of work. Errors — West Platte had five — also hurt Grant Eagen, who gave up five runs, but none earned, in 1 1/3 innings of work.